On May 31, 2018, the Jerusalem Post published Teaching Israelis about China based on a survey conducted in 2017 investigating The attitudes and perceptions of Israeli’s towards China, its people, and the Belt & Road Initiative. Led by SIGNAL, the project is the first of its kind conducted in Israel. The study was funded by China’s Ministry of Education and was initiated by SIGNAL Fellow, Dr. Li Wei, faculty and Research Fellow at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) at Northwest University in central China where SIGNAL has had an Israel studies Program since 2013.
Ben Gurion’s Vision – Innovation and Scientific Development
As the nation of Israel was being formed, one of its founders, David Ben Gurion, fashioned the fledgling State of the Jewish people to be an endless source of scientific and technological innovation to benefit the Middle East region and the world. Even before becoming Israel’s first Prime Minister, Ben Gurion acted as an unwavering beacon for sustainable development as well as domestic, industrial, and agricultural capacity in the pre-state period. Devoid of natural resources, Israel could not contribute energy or minerals. The desolate land was mainly barren. Ben Gurion envisioned a State driven by ingenuity and its ability to overcome adversity to prove its rightful place in the pantheon of nations by making a valuable contribution to the surrounding societies.
Understanding how Israel became the High-Tech powerhouse it is today, requires an appreciation of Ben Gurion’s foresight and sheer will. An examination of Ben Gurion’s early plans and policy in relation to the current innovation tack of the Jewish State, reveals how the vitality of top-down instruments of government can promote holistic innovation from any and every sector.
Ben Gurion’s vision for the vitality and vindication of the Jewish people in the State of Israel leaned heavily on promoting sustainable development. The encouragement of pre-state institutions focused on scientific R&D, military technical advancements combined with the pure tenacity of the state’s early pioneers laid the foundation for the innovation epicenter of modern Israel. The policies, programs, and philosophy which drove Israel’s early understanding of the importance of innovation were more often than not the personal directives of David Ben Gurion. Through his role in the Histadrut1 , the Jewish Agency2, and political leadership during Israel’s first three decades as a State, Ben Gurion definitively shaped the face and form of Israeli scientific R&D. As a direct result of Ben Gurion’s obsessive pursuits, Israel has time and time again overcome its geostrategic, economic and technological hurdles, establishing what is today one of the most technologically advanced startup innovation centers in the world.
- General Federation of Labor, Israeli labor organization that includes workers in the cooperative and collective agricultural settlements as well as in most industries. Organized in 1920, Histadrut is the largest voluntary organization in Israel and the most important economic body in the state. ↩
- Which Ben Gurion led from 1935 to the founding of the State in 1948 ↩